The traveller’s fuss-free guide to the best of Brazil

rio de janeiro panorama

As the largest country in South America, Brazil has been a consistent tourist spot. When one thinks of exotic South American countries, Brazil rings at the top of mind, and for good reason. Brazil is the melting pot of all the best things South America has to offer, and it’s worth all the hype.

Home to almost 2 million square miles of thick, green rainforests and the famous Christ the Redeemer Statue, Brazil offers more than what pop culture conveys.

If you’re keen on travelling to this unique country, then it’s best to be prepared. While the mention of Brazil conjures images of lush greenery and the sweltering tropical sun, this country is more than meets the eye.

Brazil is home to some of the most beautiful architectural wonders, the most exciting people, and the most enthralling cultural activities. This is a place where dancing on the cobblestoned streets at night is no weird feat, but rather a regular, celebrated occurrence.

In Brazil, you can find some of the most passionate football fans in the world. This country loves sports, and physical activities that you can take part in are everywhere!

As the biggest carnival capital and home to the world’s best natural wonders, Brazil has just a little bit of everything for every kind of traveller.

The expanse of this country may have you overwhelmed by everything you can, but not to worry! We’ve curated a list of all the top spots that you shouldn’t dare miss in Brazil.

Read on to find out the must-see spots in Brazil:

1. Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro takes the 1st spot on our list because it’s a place that lives up to, if not surpasses its fame.

This city is well-known for being a place of contrasts and complexities, as it has the perfect blend of the hustle and bustle of the metropolis, along with the idyllic scenes of rainforests and golden shores.

Apart from the textbook attractions such as Christ the Redeemer, Copacabana, etc, those who venture into the lesser-known areas of this city will be bountifully rewarded. From the off-the-beaten-track areas of Rio de Janeiro, you’ll be able to find an exciting 180-kilometre hike in TransCarioca, among other hidden gems of the city.

Being in Rio de Janeiro is like being transported to a different world. In here, you won’t need to wait for annual shows to witness Samba shows; they have them all year-round!

From dance lessons to Spanish language courses, to cooking lessons and more: there’s no reason for you not to immerse yourself in Brazil’s culture Not only will you be able to bring home once-in-a-lifetime experiences, but you’ll also have a couple of new skills up your arsenal as well.

With a population of nearly six million residents, it’s safe to say that one of the things that makes Rio de Janeiro the melting pot of excitement that it is, is its people. In here, you are instantly met with smiles and a welcoming vibe that will have you feeling at home in an instant.

2. Sao Paulo

If New York is America’s concrete jungle, then Sao Paulo is Brazil’s. This city is home to around 13 million people and is known to be the business and financial stronghold of Brazil.

Unlike its louder, more ostentatious counterparts in the country, Sao Paulo is the place to be if you’re looking to experience Brazil from day-to-day, ground level. From its buzzing cosmopolitan areas to its art hubs, you’ll be taking in Brazil’s culture at every corner.

They are nifty little quirks in this quaint city that will engage you everywhere you look. To dip your toe into Brazil’s finest art pieces, try visiting the art galleries and museums situated in the city. This is the perfect spot to be before trying local Brazilian cuisine around the plazas.

As the night draws closer and the sun sets, Brazil turns into a busy city sprawling with nightlife.

Swap your comfy day clothes into your finest outfits and head on to Praca Roosevelt to get a taste of the local nightlife. Alternatively, hipster bars are situated around here and, with how friendly Brazilians are, you’ll surely have a great night.

After all, Sao Paulo didn’t get the reputation as the city that never sleeps for anything.

3. Fernando de Noronha

If you’re not a fan of big crowds and busy streets, then the peaceful and picturesque archipelago of Fernando de Noronha may be for you.

You’ll be able to find this volcanic site around 50 kilometres off the coast of Brazil, and you will need to get on a flight from Recife to reach this place. Trust us: the journey is well worth the destination.

Its crooked coastlines and clear seas allow for you to get up close and personal with wildlife and sea creatures. These areas were well protected, and you can enjoy it as long as you leave no waste behind.

In an effort to keep this sanctuary as beautiful as it is, the government limits the number of visitors annually which is why it remains to be as breathtaking as it is.

4. Chapada Diamantina

One of Brazil’s pride is Chapada Diamantina, which boasts of various activities to excite every traveller. This national park is brimming with weirdly fascinating rock formations, quartzite caves and stunningly blue lakes and underground rivers.

The two stars of this site are Poço Encantado and Poço Azul. These two deep, underground cavities are the highlights of this area. In here, you’ll find water so clear that when the sun hits it at the right moment, you’ll be dazzled by striking blue waters.

Just be sure to lace up and keep a water bottle handy since this requires physical activity. There are more to see, like the Cachoeira da Fumaça which is one of Brazil’s largest waterfalls. The most amazing thing about this is that the water doesn’t have enough volume, and it turns into a cloud of mist at the bottom.

5. Foz de Iguaçu

Tip-toeing the border between Paraguay and Argentina is the little town of Foz de Iguaçu. In spite of its small land, it is one of the most frequented areas in Brazil.

As its namesake, this town’s claim to fame is the Foz de Iguaçu waterfalls which is one of the world’s biggest waterfalls. One of its exciting activities is walking out onto a wooden platform which protrudes to the “Devil’s Throat”, an 80-metre tall leap.

Even if you’re not an adrenaline junkie, Foz de Iguaçu will take your breath away. After you’ve taken in the sight of the waterfalls, it’s time to listen to it in the background as you seek what other wonders this town has to offer.

There is a bard park in which you can interact with feathered animals as part of the area’s conservation projects. You’ll be able to learn about the different animals that call this place home, and how to help them be protected.

6. Mount Roraima

If you’re someone who values peace and privacy to the point where you’d rather see no one in sight, Mount Roraima is the perfect spot for you.

Even if you’re not as extremist as wanting complete solitude, this mountain is worth hiking to. It can offer you a quiet time for relaxation as you overlook three countries from one vantage point.

We recommend that you look for a tour guide when traversing this area as it is quite hard to get to. It’s located in the very north of Brazil and is remote and difficult to get to without guidance.

The fact that it’s hard to get to and takes a lot of effort is one of its best points for hikers and adventurers. Their efforts are paid off beyond expectations once they reach the peak and appreciate nature in its rawest form.

Most people who climb mountains can attest that the ascent is more difficult than the descent from the peak. However, once you get to see and experience how beautiful the view is, you’ll be leaving half-heartedly.

Brazil is a country that needs no elaborate marketing because it’s a place that can sell itself. There’s a reason why this place is frequented by millions of tourists yearly, and no matter how famous it gets, it never becomes a sellout.

Take in their beautiful beaches, ardent love for soccer, eclectic mix of people, affordable prices, and picture-perfect natural wonders, and you’ll have yourself wishing you were back the moment you leave.

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